A Greek criminal prosecutor has launched an investigation after a report on Channel 4 News showed a member of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party threatening to turn immigrants into soap.
The investigation was opened after the Greek anti-racist crime unit referred the news report to the criminal prosecutor.
The film – which was broadcast on Channel 4 News on 5 March – was shot by Konstantinos Georgousis, with the full knowledge of the members, after spending a month filming far-right Golden Dawn party on the streets of Athens.
In the film, Alexandros Plomaritis, a 44-year-old who ran for parliament for the party in last year’s election, said: “We are ready to open the ovens. We will turn them into soap … to wash cars and pavements. We will make lamps from their skin.”
Plomaritis was filmed ahead of the Greek election, and the footage also showed members of the Golden Dawn party talking openly about beating up illegal immigrants.
Golden Dawn, the extreme right-wing party in Greece, won 18 seats in the country’s last election.
Since then support for the party has doubled as it pushes tough new anti-immigrant laws, including banning non-ethnic Greeks from the military and police.
National Film and Television School student Konstantinos Georgousis spent a month with the organisation last summer, as Greece hovered on the abyss, for his documentary film The Cleaners.
Writing about his experience of making the film, Mr Georgousis says: “I walked through every nook and cranny in the centre of Athens to find these Golden Dawn members.
“I was terrified that these members were proud to express their extreme ideas during campaigning openly in public. I was shocked by their hostility and by the way they treated immigrants in the Athenian squares.”
Greek centre-right New Democracy MP Adonis Georgiadis told Channel 4 News the opinions expressed by Golden Dawn supporters in Konstantinos Georgousis’s film are not “the opinion of the majority of Greek people”.
“Many people in Greece are very much concerned about the changing of the population because of these illegal immigrants,” he said.
“Golden Dawn is a disgrace for our society and our democracy.”
But he explained that Greek society was under “major pressure” which prompted some people to vote for Golden Dawn.
In a statement on its website, Golden Dawn dismissed the film, saying:
“Another shocking documentary about the illegal and murderous activities of Golden Dawn comes to light from the prestigious British Channel 4 … Foreign journalists arrived secretly in a cafe in St. Panteleimonas to uncover the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Golden Dawn. The regulars (one of whom was our candidate in previous elections) joke with them for hours without being informed that they are being recorded with a hidden camera (a crime!).”